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Doberman

UK PM authorized pet rescue during Kabul exodus, emails suggest

british forces afghanistan
© MoD Crown Copyright / Getty Images
British forces work with the US military to evacuate civilians and families out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Newly released emails seemingly contradict Boris Johnson's claim that he did not intervene in the evacuation of animals from Kabul.

Emails released Wednesday by the UK Parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which is investigating the hurried British evacuation from Kabul, Afghanistan in August 2021, suggest Prime Minister Boris Johnson did authorize the evacuation of staff and animals. He has previously denied involvement in the matter.

In one communication dating from August 2021, a UK Foreign Office official discussing an evacuation request from an animal charity wrote that Johnson had approved the evacuation of an "equivalent charity" called Nowzad.

Propaganda

Hypocrisy at its finest: Canadian journalist 'triggered' by lack of COVID restrictions while on Florida vacation

montreal gazette headline
Canadian reporter Josh Freed "fled" Quebec's lockdowns for a voluntary vacation in Florida but then blasted the Sunshine State for wearing pandemic "blinders" in an article published in the Montreal Gazette.

Freed contrasted Canada's handling of COVID-19, where people live "in full confinement mode," with the freedoms of Florida, noting the difference in people's mental health.

"In ever-friendly America, some customers even shake hands with their waiters before leaving, to say, 'Thanks, I'll have some germs for dessert,'" Freed wrote. "It's health madness, but there's a psychological upside, since COVID doesn't dominate all life like [in Canada]. We, Montrealers, live in a tense, depressing pandemic bubble — all-COVID, all the time — which is why many people avoid following the news."

Comment: We could spend all day taking apart the author's motives (jealousy, anyone?), but it comes down to this: if you don't like how a another country/state is dealing with the lockdown, don't go there.

See also:


NPC

Woke ideas about race don't represent racial minorities

racial minority teens
Recent research from Gallup documents changes in America's political ideology over the last year. A previous preference for the Democratic Party shifted to a preference for the GOP.

On average, 25% described their views as liberal, 37% as moderate, and 36% as conservative. Compared with Republicans and independents, greater ideological diversity was evident within the Democratic Party, with half identifying as liberal and the other half identifying as moderate (37%) or conservative (12%).

This shift likely reflected a variety of factors, including the change in presidents, the response to COVID-19, and the rise in inflation. When polling numbers were broken down by race, an additional theme emerged: Only 26% of blacks and 28% of Hispanics identified as liberal. A similar trend has been documented among Asian Americans, with 44% disapproving of President Joe Biden's performance, demonstrating the greatest disapproval rating among racial minority groups.

Comment: See also:


Laptop

Top Human Rights Watch investigator allegedly hacked with Pegasus spyware

Lama Fakih
© Human rights watch
Lama Fakih, Human Rights Watch’s crisis and conflict director and the director of the Beirut office.
The mobile phones of a senior Human Rights Watch staff member are alleged to have been repeatedly hacked by a client of NSO Group at a time when she was investigating the catastrophic August 2020 explosion that killed more than 200 people in Beirut.

The alleged hacking of Lama Fakih, a US-Lebanese citizen and director of crisis and conflict at HRW, marks the latest example of how NSO's powerful surveillance tool, Pegasus, has been used by the company's clients to target campaigners and journalists.

HRW said that Fakih had been alerted by Apple on 24 November 2021 that her personal iPhone could be under state-sponsored attack. An investigation by HRW's security team, which was reviewed by Amnesty International's Security Lab, found that Fakih's iPhones had apparently been infected with Pegasus through a so-called "zero-click" exploit that allows operators of the spyware to infect a phone without the mobile user doing anything, such as clicking on a link.




The news comes as NSO has faced a raft of bad news at home and abroad. In November, the company was placed on a US blacklist by the Biden administration, which said it had evidence that the Israeli company was enabling foreign governments to conduct "transnational repression".

Comment: See also:


Light Sabers

Spotify sides with Joe Rogan, removes Neil Young's music: 'A costly move'

Joe Rogan Neil Young
© Getty Images
Spotify has sided with Joe Rogan following an ultimatum from Neil Young.
Spotify has sided with its podcast superstar over Neil Young.

The legendary folk singer gave the streaming behemoth an ultimatum earlier this week, saying he refused to allow his music on the same platform as Joe Rogan. The "Heart of Gold" singer accused Rogan and his podcast of spreading false information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Spotify reportedly paid more than $100 million deal to be the exclusive home of Rogan's show. Young, meanwhile, stands to lose 60% of his streaming income from his defiant stance, he said in a statement on his website.

"We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users," a spokesperson for the company told the Wall Street Journal. "With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators."

Comment: See also:


Attention

Powerful explosion causes extensive damage to buildings in central Athens

explosion athens
© Twitter/pentzouridis pan
A powerful explosion shook Athens on Wednesday morning.
At least one person was injured from a powerful explosion in central Athens early Wednesday which damaged an office block and smashed nearby storefronts.

The pre-dawn blast occurred 200 meters from the ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus on the busy Syngrou Avenue.

The blast caused a fire on the mezzanine floor, which spread to the first floor, while extensive damage has been done to other buildings in the area due to the shock wave. The wreckage caused damage to many vehicles.

Comment: Other explosions in the news recently:


Target

Extremists see US power grid as target, government report warns

Utility lines
© AP/Robert F. Bukaty
Central Maine Power utility lines
Extremist groups in the United States appear to increasingly view attacking the power grid as a means of disrupting the country, according to a government report aimed at law enforcement agencies and utility operators.

Domestic extremists "have developed credible, specific plans to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2020," according to the report from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The document, dated Monday, was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The report warns that extremists "adhering to a range of ideologies will likely continue to plot and encourage physical attacks against electrical infrastructure," which includes more than 6,400 power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that span the country.

Experts on the U.S. power grid have pointed out that it would be difficult to knock out power to the nation given the size and decentralized nature of the grid. The DHS report also notes that attackers, without inside help at least, would be unlikely to produce widespread, multistate outages, though they could still do damage and cause injuries.

It comes as both the FBI and DHS have repeatedly warned in recent months that the U.S. faces a heightened threat from domestic extremists.

X

Don't pose with Russians, Ukraine warns Olympians

athletes
© Yaroslava Mahuchikh/Getty Images
Mariya Lasitskene (C) posing with Yaroslava Mahuchikh (R)
Ukrainian athletes should avoid standing beside their Russian competitors at the Beijing Winter Olympics, the country's sports minister has said, warning about potential "provocations."

Reports in Russia last week stated that Ukrainian athletes had been told to avoid speaking Russian in interviews at the Games or being photographed alongside their Russian rivals.

Ukraine's minister of youth and sports, Vadim Gutzeit, now appears to have confirmed those recommendations in comments shared by public broadcaster Suspilne. Amid heightened tensions between the two neighbors, 50-year-old former fencing gold medalist Gutzeit said:
"We had an online meeting with all athletes and coaches on how to behave in situations where there will be provocations, as it was at the Summer Olympics. All athletes are aware, they know how to behave in such situations. They should not stand together when athletes from Russia stand with a flag, so they aren't together. They should know that, we worked on it. After the Summer Olympics, it's not the first time we've met with athletes and it's been discussed."
During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh came under fire in her homeland when the youngster was photographed smiling alongside Russian gold medal winner Mariya Lasitskene.

Bronze medalist Mahuchikh, 20, is a junior sergeant in the Ukrainian armed forces and was ordered to attend a meeting with officials to discuss her actions. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar claimed that Mahuchikh's behavior could become "the object of the enemy's information special operations."

Comment: Playing political games at the expense of their athletes, Ukraine is tarnishing one of the sacred aspects of the Olympics.


Eye 2

How George Soros funded progressive 'legal arsonist' DAs behind US crime surge

george soros district attorneys
© NY Post photo composite
Billionaire George Soros (center) funnels cash through a complicated web of federal and state political action committees as well as non-profits to support soft-on-crime DAs across the country.
For the last several years, billionaire philanthropist George Soros has been quietly financing a revolution in criminal justice reform, doling out tens of millions of dollars to progressive candidates in district attorney races throughout the country amid movements to abolish bail and defund the police.

Working with an activist attorney, Soros, 91, mainly funnels cash through a complicated web of federal and state political action committees as well as non-profits from coast to coast, public records show.

Last year, the Foundation to Promote Open Society, a nonprofit in Soros' orbit, gave $3 million to the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability, according to a recent report. The group provides resources to "local advocates and organizations working to address the harm of policing in the US."

Comment: Soros does not confine his activities to the state level. He is actively creating chaos all over the world.


Light Saber

DeSantis furious after FDA pulls authorization of antibody drugs: 'Sudden and reckless'

desantis florida monoclonal antibody treatments

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
U.S. health officials say COVID-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because they are unlikely to work against the omicron variant.

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it is revoking emergency authorization for both drugs. If they prove effective against future variants, the FDA says it can reauthorize their use.

The move was expected because both drugmakers had previously said their drugs are less effective against omicron.

Federal officials said the FDA decision was supported by several independent studies, including a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Nature last month.

Comment: What the article leaves out is DeSantis's assessment of the study that caused the FDA to pull the drug. From the governor's press conference above:
"[T]hey (theFDA) are relying on revoking this and pulling the rug out from under people on a single, non-peer-reviewed, non-clinical study that was actually done by a consultant for a rival company to the the other two monoclonal antibody treatments. This is not based on a clinical trial. This is not even peer-reviewed. So this is something that they claim it shouldn't be used because we have omicron. And what we would say in Florida is, we have had people use it and we've had good results."